Women extend dual-meet win streak as fencers seek another national title

All-American fencers Gracie Stone ’16, left, and Susie Scanlan ’14.
All-American fencers Gracie Stone ’16, left, and Susie Scanlan ’14.
Beverly Schaefer

Susie Scanlan ’14 took two years off to train for and compete in the 2012 London Olympics, where she won a bronze medal with the U.S. women’s epee team. When she returned to school last year, she helped Princeton win its first-ever national title. This year, she feels there’s still more to do.

“Repeat,” she said, when asked about her goals for the season. “To prove last year wasn’t a fluke.”

While Scanlan was away, Princeton’s men and women — the championship is determined by combining men’s and women’s scores — came in second at the NCAA tournament. As powerhouses like Penn State and Notre Dame usually dominate the tournament, some attributed Princeton’s strong finish to the fact that many teams had lost multiple athletes to Olympic training.

But last year was a different story. “I’m really glad we won last year because all the teams were full force,” Scanlan said.

Other standouts on Princeton’s team are Kat Holmes ’15, a two-time All-American who finished fifth in the nation last year; Eve Levin ’14, a three-time All-American who placed 10th at the NCAAs; and Gracie Stone ’16, who placed third at the NCAAs and was 15–0 at the Ivy League Championships.

The Princeton women are off to a good start, having swept the Penn and Sacred Heart duals and edged out Columbia, the team’s stiffest Ivy competition. The women extended their dual-match winning streak to 26.

Last year, Stone fenced alongside her sister Eliza ’13, who won the individual national title, and brother Robert ’14, who came in seventh. Gracie admits that she and her siblings are very competitive — they’re all sabrists and politics majors — but denies that the three are exactly alike.

“I’m studying politics because I want to go into foreign service,” she said, “whereas my brother’s studying politics and wants to be a history professor, and my sister studied politics and wants to be an orthopedic surgeon.”

Robert Stone and the men’s team tied for second in the Ivy League last year and are off to a 6–2 start after sweeping Ohio State and Penn at the Penn Duals Nov. 23. Michael Dudey ’16, who finished fifth at the NCAAs as a freshman last season, went a perfect 6–0 at Penn.

The Tigers head to Illinois for the Northwestern Duals Feb. 1–2, where they will face tough national competition as they prepare for the Ivy League Championships the following weekend.